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Public Health

Guide to library research for evidence-informed public health practice.


The information research process (i.e. inquiry process) presented here is applicable in education and practice, whether conducting a literature review for an assignment or for practicing evidence-informed public health.

From University of Calgary, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

Getting Started

Background reading can help you get a sense of the literature surrounding a particular topic. This can start with preliminary searches using the library discovery tool Omni, Google Scholar, or relevant library databases, to identify book content or articles (review articles can be particularly useful).

Tip for searching the library discovery tool Omni and Google Scholar: only scan through the top results since they are sorted and displayed by relevance. If you are not retrieving relevant results, try using different search terms (e.g. other synonyms/related terms). Utilize the limits available to narrow your search results.

Research Databases

Library research databases offer advanced search techniques such as subject heading searching that can be helpful for more complex queries. Research databases are also key resources for finding studies during the Information Collection stage of the Information Research Process that follows Question Formulation. Grey literature sources are also an important consideration for locating information that has not been formally published.

Evidence-Informed Public Health

Notice how the steps for the Information Research Process outlined above closely mirror the steps for Evidence-Informed Public Health presented by the National Collaboration Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT).

Visit the NCCMT Learning Centre for Modules by Steps.